Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
August 02, 2020
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







Draw near to your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness,
that, for those who glory in you as their Creator and guide,
you may restore what you have created
and keep safe what you have restored.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading (Is 55:1-3)

Thus says the LORD: All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.

Responsorial Psalm

R/. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,    
    slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
    and compassionate toward all his works. R/.

The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
    and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing. R/.

The LORD is just in all his ways
    and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
    to all who call upon him in truth. R/.

Second Reading (Rom 8:35,37-39)

Brothers and sisters: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel Acclamation


Gospel (Mt 14:13-21)

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

Catena Nova

The disciples say that they have only five loaves and two fish. The five loaves signified that they were still subject to the five books of the Law and the two fish that they were fed by the teachings of the prophets and John the Baptist… This was what the apostles had to offer to begin with since this was the point they were at and it was from this point, that the preaching of the Gospel began…Our Lord took the loaves and the fish.  He raised his eyes to heaven, said the blessing and broke them.   He gave thanks to the Father because the Good News was being changed into food after centuries of the Law and the prophets… The loaves were then given to the apostles, it was at their hands, that the gifts of divine grace were to be handed out.  Then the people were fed with the five loaves and two fish and, when those who were invited were satisfied, the leftovers of bread and fish were so plentiful that twelve baskets were filled with them.  What this means is that the crowd was filled with God’s word coming from the teaching of the Law and the prophets.   But it is an abundance of divine power, kept aside for the gentiles, that overflows after the provision of the food that lasts forever.  It comes to its full complement, that of the number twelve, the same as the number of the apostles. Now, it happens that the number of those who ate is the same as that of those who would come to believe: five thousand souls (Mt 14:21; Acts 4:4) (St Hilary of Poitiers).

It was a great miracle that was wrought, dearly beloved, for five thousand to be filled with five loaves and two fishes, and the remnants of the fragments to fill twelve baskets. A great miracle: but we shall not wonder much at what was done, if we give heed to Him That did it. He multiplied the five loaves in the hands of them that brake them, who multiplies the seeds that grow in the earth, so as that a few grains are sown, and whole barns are filled. But, because he does this every year, no one marvels. Not the inconsiderableness of what is done, but its constancy takes away admiration of it. But when the Lord did these things, He spoke to them that had understanding—not by words only, but even by the miracles themselves. The five loaves signified the five books of Moses’ Law. The old Law is barley compared to the Gospel wheat. In those books are great mysteries concerning Christ contained. Whence He says, “If you had believed Moses, you would believe Me also; for he wrote of Me.” But as in barley the marrow is hid under the chaff, so in the veil of the mysteries of the Law is Christ hidden. As those mysteries of the Law are developed and unfolded; so too those loaves increased when they were broken. And in this that I have explained to you, I have broken bread unto you. The five thousand signify the people ordered under the five books of the Law. The twelve baskets are the twelve Apostles, who themselves too were filled with the fragments of the Law. The two fishes are either the two precepts of the love of God and our neighbor, or the two people of the circumcision and uncircumcision, or those two sacred personages of the king and the priest. As these things are explained, they are broken; when they are understood, they are eaten (St. Augustine).

We have spoken these things because of the words, “They that did eat were five thousand men, beside children and women,” which is an ambiguous expression; for either those who ate were five thousand men, and among those who ate there was no child or woman; or the men only were five thousand, the children and the women not being reckoned... Interpret with me allegorically the children in accordance with the passage, “I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ;” and the women in accordance with the saying, “I wish to present you all as a pure virgin to Christ;” and the men according to the saying, “When I am become a man I have put away childish things” (Origen).

Our Lord in a desert place changed a few loaves into many, and at Cana turned water into wine. Thus before the time came to give men and women his own body and blood to feed on, he accustomed their palates to his bread and wine, giving them a taste of transitory bread and wine to teach them to delight in his life-giving body and blood....He gave them things of little value for nothing to make them understand that his supreme gift would be given yet more freely.... Moreover, as well as giving freely he lovingly cajoled us, offering us these small things without charge to attract us and cause us to go and receive something greater and beyond all price. He awakened our desire by things pleasing to the palate in order to draw us to that which gives life to the soul. He gave a sweet taste to the wine he created to show how great is the treasure hidden in his life-giving blood (St. Ephrem the Syrian).

One of the greatest evils of the day among those outside the proximity of the suffering poor is their sense of futility. Young people say, “What good can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?” They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the action of the present moment but we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us? When we begin to take the lowest place, to wash the feet of others, to love our brothers with that burning love, that passion, which led to the cross, then we can truly say, “Now I have begun” (Dorothy Day).

Our communities, when they celebrate the Eucharist, must become ever more conscious that the sacrifice of Christ is for all, and that the Eucharist thus compels all who believe in him to become “bread that is broken” for others, and to work for the building of a more just and fraternal world. Keeping in mind the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, we need to realize that Christ continues today to exhort his disciples to become personally engaged: “You yourselves, give them something to eat” (Mt 14:16). Each of us is truly called, together with Jesus, to be bread broken for the life of the world (Pope  Benedict XVI).

This Sunday the Gospel presents to us the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish (Mt 14:13-21). We can understand three messages from this event. The first is compassion. In facing the crowd who follows him and — so to speak — “won’t leave him alone”, Jesus does not react with irritation; he does not say: “These people are bothering me”. No, no. He reacts with a feeling of compassion, because he knows they are not seeking him out of curiosity but out of need. But attention: compassion — which Jesus feels — is not simply feeling pity; it’s more! It means to suffer with, in other words to empathize with the suffering of another, to the point of taking it upon oneself. Jesus is like this: he suffers together with us, he suffers with us, he suffers for us. And the sign of this compassion is the healing of countless people he performed. Jesus teaches us to place the needs of the poor before our own. Our needs, even if legitimate, are not as urgent as those of the poor, who lack the basic necessities of life. We often speak of the poor. But when we speak of the poor, do we sense that this man or that woman or those children lack the bare necessities of life? That they have no food, they have no clothing, they cannot afford medicine…. Also that the children do not have the means to attend school. Whereas our needs, although legitimate, are not as urgent as those of the poor who lack life’s basic necessities.

The second message is sharing. The first is compassion, which Jesus felt, and the second is sharing. It’s helpful to compare the reaction of the disciples with regard to the tired and hungry people, with that of Jesus. They are different. The disciples think it would be better to send them away so they can go and buy food. Jesus instead says: “you give them something to eat”. Two different reactions, which reflect two contrasting outlooks: the disciples reason with worldly logic, by which each person must think of himself; they reason as if to say: “Sort it out for yourselves”. Jesus reasons with God’s logic, which is that of sharing. How many times we turn away so as not to see our brothers in need! And this looking away is a polite way to say, with white gloves, “Sort it out for yourselves”. And this is not Jesus’ way: this is selfishness. Had he sent away the crowds, many people would have been left with nothing to eat. Instead those few loaves and fish, shared and blessed by God, were enough for everyone. And pay heed! It isn’t magic, it’s a “sign”: a sign that calls for faith in God, provident Father, who does not let us go without “our daily bread”, if we know how to share it as brothers.

Compassion, sharing. And the third message: the miracle of the loaves foreshadows the Eucharist. It is seen in the gesture of Jesus who, before breaking and distributing the loaves, “blessed” them (Mt 14:19). It is the same gesture that Jesus was to make at the Last Supper, when he established the perpetual memorial of his Redeeming Sacrifice. In the Eucharist Jesus does not give just any bread, but the bread of eternal life, he gives Himself, offering Himself to the Father out of love for us. But we must go to the Eucharist with those sentiments of Jesus, which are compassion and the will to share. One who goes to the Eucharist without having compassion for the needy and without sharing, is not at ease with Jesus.

Compassion, sharing, Eucharist. This is the path that Jesus points out to us in this Gospel. A path which brings us to face the needs of this world with fraternity, but which leads us beyond this world, because it comes from God the Father and returns to Him. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Divine Providence, accompany us on this journey (Pope Francis).


Great Expectations

            Give them some food yourselves.  Can you imagine the grumbling?  “Oh sure. We’ll make do with five loaves and two fish for thousands of people.  We’ll get right to it, boss.  After all, you’ve asked us to do lots of foolish things since we met you: like abandoning our nets, leaving our families behind, getting mixed up with John the Baptist.  Did you ever think Herod’s wife might be after your head – and ours – too?  Leaving town in a boat to a deserted place after John’s death made a lot of sense.  But now we have this vast crowd of sign-seekers to deal with following you on foot from their towns.  You know that’s all they’re interested in, don’t you, curing their sick?  And now you want us to feed them?  Can’t you see it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves”(G).

            Can you blame those disciples one little bit if such thoughts went through their heads when the preacher from Nazareth said, Give them some food yourselves?  I imagine it would be something like him telling us to do something about the monumental issues we are facing at the present time: the pandemic that continues to rage; a looming economic collapse; the ever-deepening political divide; civil unrest, and the ongoing threats to the environment.  Any one of these things presents a daunting challenge, paralyzing for its enormity, but taken together, we might as well try feeding thousands of people with five loaves and two fish.

            Of course, there are little things we can do.  Like wearing a mask, calling your senator, voting, supporting social reform movements, and recycling.  But it can all seem too little, no more than five loaves and two fish.  What’s the use before this vast crowd of problems?

            Well, don’t tell that to the late Representative John Lewis whose five loaves and two fish was the “little” act of crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge that began his storied political career as the “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.” Or to Time magazine’s Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg, whose five loaves and two fish was a“little” climate change essay in a local newspaper that began her environmental activism at the age of 15.  Or to the founders of Black Lives Matter whose five loaves and two fish was a “little” hashtag on social media that has become what may be the largest movement in US history. 

            Sure, great things are often dampened by skepticism whether our own or others.  Not to mention our feelings of inadequacy.  We might set before us a goal,  perhaps beyond our reach and strength -- but not our hopes and dreams -- and before you know it, someone is pointing out our limitations and folly.  Our confidence erodes, and soon we settle for less.  Lofty ideals abandoned in the face of “reality.”  The burning thirst of the human spirit for truth and justice, love and holiness, teased, but never quenched. 

            We fill our minds with clichés of resignation like: “You can’t fight city hall.” “Everyone else does it.”  “Welcome to the real world.”  So we learn to be content with half-truths, partial justice, bloodless love, and Sunday-morning holiness. The lowest common denominator will do just fine, thank you.  As Isaiah says: We spend [our] money for what is not bread; [our] wages for what fails to satisfy (I). 

            Oh yes, we have our limitations, our setbacks, naysayers all around us, who prefer we settle for less, and make do with just “a little bit” of truth and justice, a “little bit” of love and holiness.  Or simply point out the futility of even trying.  In other words, five loaves and two fish.     

            But that’s the point of the story, isn’t it?  God is more than able to take our “little bit,” and make do with it more than we could ever imagine.  The human condition, with all its poverty of will and means, is no excuse for God.  On the contrary, it’s precisely the human condition that God embraces in Christ.  Human weakness is no reason for God to cease working wonders.

            Look at St. Paul.  He knew a little something about human limitations.  He lists all the things that might well have prevented him from doing the great things God asked of him: anguish, distress, persecution, hunger, famine, nakedness, peril, the sword. (II)  But, he says, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us (II). 

            How?  Because God provides in the midst of our weakness, our poverty, and our limitations.  These, after all, are all we have.  Five loaves and two fish.  They’re the raw materials God uses to show forth his power at work in us who believe.  We never have, then, a good reason to shrink from the heights God call us to, and settle for the downward pull of a fallen nature.  No, the “little bit” we have is more than enough for God to transform and multiply.

            So, come, all you who are thirsty,. . . come receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine . . . You shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare (I).  Come to this table, where we present our “little bit” of bread and wine, signs of our poverty, which God takes, and makes into the banquet of eternal life.




For the church, that neither death nor life, nor anguish, nor distress may keep us from conquering evil overwhelmingly because of the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.

That the Lord, who is just in all His ways and holy in all His deeds, may lift the minds and hearts of world leaders to the ways of integrity, life, and peace.

For all who feel powerless to help their brothers and sisters in need, that they may have the courage to bring to Jesus what little is available, so that His power to multiply may bless their efforts.

For all of us sharing this Eucharist, who come without paying to a divine banquet, that no fragment of this feast be lost, but shared freely with all who are in need of God.

For all who have asked for our prayers in a time of suffering, that our eyes may look hopefully to the Father on their behalf, and that He may open His hand and satisfy their desire for healing and strength.

For our beloved departed ones, that they may be brought into the banqueting hall of heaven and delight in the rich fare of the face to face vision of God.

Bountiful and compassionate God, you place in the hands of your disciples the food of life. Nourish us at your holy table, that we may bear Christ to others and share with them
the gifts we have so richly received. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Offertory Anthem


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution,

or famine or nakedness or peril or the sword?

No, in these things we are more than conquerors

through him that loved us.

I am persuaded that death, nor life,

nor angels, nor height, nor depth,

nor any other creature shall be able to separate us

from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

We pray for our daily bread as Jesus taught...

Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, 
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 
I love You above all things, 
and I desire to receive You into my soul. 
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, 
come at least spiritually into my heart. 
I embrace You as if You were already there 
and unite myself wholly to You. 
Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Communion Hymn


Bread for the world
A world of hunger
Wine for all peoples
People who thirst
May we who eat
Be bread for others
May we who drink
Pour out our love

Lord Jesus Christ
You are the bread of life
Broken to reach
And heal the wounds
Of human pain
Where we divide your people
You are waiting there
On bended knee
To wash our feet with endless care

Bread for the world
A world of hunger
Wine for all peoples
People who thirst
May we who eat
Be bread for others
May we who drink
Pour out our love

Lord Jesus Christ
You are the wine of peace
Poured into hearts once broken
And where dryness sleeps
Where we are tired and weary
You are waiting there
To be the way which beckons us
Beyond despair

Bread for the world
A world of hunger
Wine for all peoples
People who thirst
May we who eat
Be bread…

Closing Hymn


O let all who thirst,
let them come to the water.
And let all who have nothing,
let them come to the Lord:
without money, without price.
Why should you pay the price,
except for the Lord?

And let all who seek,
let them come to the water.
And let all who have nothing,
let them come to the Lord:
without money, without strife.
Why should you spend your life,
except for the Lord?

And let all who toil,
let them come to the water.
And let all who are weary,
let them come to the Lord:
all who labor, without rest.
How can your soul find rest,
except for the Lord?

And let all the poor,
let them come to the water,
Bring the ones who are laden,
bring them all to the Lord:
bring the children without might.
Easy the load and light:
come to the Lord.